ASSIGNMENT TITLE- EMPLOYING OLDER WORKERS IN CONTEMPORARY ORGANISATIONS
QUESTIONS TO BE ANSWERED AS PER CASE STUDIES
1.Identify three examples of good practice/strategies for employing older workers and discuss why these are appropriate
As per the case study of Clugston Group under construction, it was clearly depicted that the elderly population has a vast experience, expertise and keenness to share the earned knowledge during their tenure. This company is private owned and involves property development, facilities management and logistics. When Stephen Martin joined this company since 2007, he observed many notable points for the employees who have served this company with passion and loyalty. When he worked on a series “Undercover boss”, he learnt the actual problems takes place while doing business. He understood that life happens when we take a sharp end. Later when he hired DS, an old supervisor of 64 years of age to work alongside the Construction Director, they together prepared a scheme to make the training more dynamic. The objective was to launch a mentoring programme where the experience gained by the employees above 60 years can act as mentors for a particular time frame.
Herein the scenario was that they will be assigning few trainees and apprentices to gain skills and learned about the different aspects of work based operational parts. For instance, the older drivers could be of great help for the management while following the medical requirements for driving HGV. Additionally it also assisted in understanding the practical approach in solving any issues that can take place while handling any manual work (Kadefors and Hanse, 2012). It bridges the communication gaps between the line manager and drivers while executing the operational works and ensuring quality work. The age is not a barrier but a boon when giving training and also helps in achieving the five KPIs (key performance indicators). For this company, the older drivers were a great ROI when started training as they were able to give strategic inputs without any threat of losing jobs or worrying about hidden agendas. It only leads to making the work life balance more elaborative by keeping the learning as an on-going and continuous process for an individual.
Next case study is from Health section, ABM University Health Board has been chosen which is amongst the largest employers in the Wales region. It was mainly serving the maternity services and has a birth rate of 638 approximately in an annual basis. This centre has 3 sites and provides a wide range of service at midwife based centres for birthing, home based services, community led and lastly consultancy related units. The crisis that could affect its performance is that about one third of its staff is above 50 years and is towards a higher inclination for retirement. There would be a lack of good, efficient and skilled mid wife nurses and such recruitment problem could be a complete loss for this organisation. For this, the administration did provide a flexible plan for retirement where less working hours is applicable with the entitlement of taking the pension as well.
Further to the above scenario, it has indeed highlighted many positive effects in which retention rate has increased with a bright future in gaining good staff to provide patient centric services. This completely solved the recruitment issue of the vast employer and maintained a good balance (Remler and Van Ryzin, 2014). Although, it was not a known fact to all the working midwives about such scheme and the benefits associated with it. Therefore, a drive was launched which informed about the provisions of pension, flexible working hours, giving ample time to train the new apprentices. For instance, word of mouth was the best broadcasting method that made the staff, consultants aware of such a flexi retire plan to give a 50-50 winning chances for both the parties. Lastly, enhanced levels of retention rate with less responsibility for older staff but higher knowledge sharing amongst each other. The organization successfully hired the valuable midwives who were at ease and were ready to give the training to the new ones joining the taskforce.
The third case study chosen was of Allevard Springs from the manufacturing sector, that has a optimistic viewpoint on keeping the older staff and also promoting their hiring if required to fill up any vacancy. This is mainly due to the balance that got established at one of its modern plant situated in Tonypandy. Here the major point is that there is high unemployment rate and people with skills are crucial in building the operations. Thus, this company has always promoted the idea of having people above 60 years to sustain the performance and overall success ratio. Along with this, the elderly staffs are happy to opt for regular shifts, do not take sick leaves and highly qualified. For instance, the super skilled technicians in the engineering department consisted of five people and out of which, two are above 60 years of age and one is more than 50 years. Henceforth, it only leads to value addition in terms of making the work smother and making the learning more dynamic and inclusive in nature.
Furthermore, the hiring of people on contractual or temporary basis also proved beneficial because the kind of expertise, experience they bring at the workplace. Also, the shortage of people also gets filled up with such passionate elderly people who could give their insights on difficult areas such as ledgers, accounting, technicalities etc. Their overall inclusion only enhances the workplace environment and makes the working friendlier. It has brought more benefits to the company by cutting down on unnecessary costs on hiring process and also the staff turnover is low since around 83% of employees have been serving for more than five years. Additionally, the performance management has only improvised by making a transparent appraisal system irrespective of the seniority (Ciampa and Chernesky, 2013). Each member is determined to work with zeal, determination and accomplished the tasks on timely manner. This only makes the business to flourish without any unnecessary delays, or internal stress or pressure amongst the same team members working on a project.
2.Identify three key challenges, using wider reading, in employing older workers and discuss the implications of these challenges.
The first challenge could be of technology based aspects, as with changing circumstances across the globe and the ongoing pandemic situation, remote working and online working from home would be a new working culture. There was an emphasis on physical presence while handing the business or using the machinery at the production units in different sectors such as manufacturing, health etc. For instance, recent times, the health sector saw an inclusion of such advanced instruments and machines for scanning and checking the vital signs of the patients that do not require any manual handling but complete knowledge on operating it automatically.
Additionally the major challenge with the above is to work through the system when there are technical errors or abrupt issues which could put a hold on the processes while working (Beier, Teachout and Cox, 2012). An elderly person might get stuck or feel intimated using the computer or installing a siftware and it could lead to additional pressure or unregulated working practices. The dependency on emailing, using smart phones, tablets etc for communicating could not be understandable by the elderly population who always preferred the face to face communication. Using social media platforms and other digital platforms could be very challenging for them to execute a particular task or communicate their ideas/ opinion on a specific project.
Next challenge could be career advancement and financial profits, the elderly population have this notion of getting a hike or promotion in a span of 1-2 years while keeping their job as it is. They do not worry about the instant gratification they might receive after completing a project successfully (Hall and et.al., 2015). Moreover, the concept of giving time on a particular task would reap the same amount of success has been followed by them. For example, as per the case studies mentioned, one thing was common the elderly population was having a low rate of absenteeism. There were many workers who took about 1-2 days leaves during the professional career spanning for around 20 years or so.
However, the current generation including both Y and Z work for instant fame, recognition and hike. It was seen that they do not give importance to value addition and work as per their inputs and complete focus. In return, they would like to be paid in either cash or kind. They do not want to only work and work but also have a personal life outside their work life. This could seem as arrogant and rude for their colleagues who have more experience and age above 50 or 6 years. It would also be misleading, confusing and might bring friction at the workplace that hampers the environment at the workplace.
The next challenge could be hierarchy and authoritative nature; it could only bring tension at the workplace and might be discouraging to the younger employees. It has been observed that the elderly population put efforts in learning and gaining enriching experience that give them an upper hand with respect to time. However, sometimes it also boosts unwanted ego clashes or difference of opinions and plays a negative impact on the processes or operational parts at the professional levels (O’Donnell and et.al., 2015). However, as studied in one of the case study, the CEO applauded the older employee who gave his ideas for making the training schedule better. But in many cases there are situation of exploitation and disrespectful attribute exhibited.
In addition to it, there are couple of examples in which an experienced colleague has led the company grow in leaps and bounds. Their expertise could be useful but in majority of situation, the environment is not positive and might lead to an unspoken war for making their presence more evident. The unhealthy competition only brings more toxic workplace environment where the younger staff gets exploited and give undue pressure for not doing a work in a certain manner.
3. Make recommendations as to how these challenges can be addressed and overcome.
The technological differences could be overcome by making the elderly population understand the advantages and several benefits of using an email or meeting a person via zoom. It is not only cost effective but also a faster medium of communication that helps in making a long lasting relationship with the concerned party. Also, training must be imparted to make them aware about its utility that has made life more simplified and gives sufficient time to have a personal life as well (Staubli and Zweimüller, 2013). For instance, the elderly population can be engaged in extracurricular activities to give them a chance in meeting the other staff and share their experiences on a common platform without being formal or strict office environment.
The career advancement must be clearly outlined in each company’s code of conduct which must be impartial and completely transparent. Giving each person an equal opportunity would lead to building healthy and cordial professional ties and make one another understand about the working practices or difference in the cultural aspects. With globalization, several ethnicities, and societal background people are working under one roof and henceforth, each person must be given a platform to shine and work with continuous learning and overall development.
Next is authority, in which the company’s management must be sensitive in giving the designated positions and only give a fair chance for leading (Sharkey and Sharkey, 2012). An elderly employee must be given chance without having to justify its capabilities or physical strength of working for longer hours. On the other hand, a young employee must also be made understand that his lack of experience can be overlooked if the ideas, loyalty and sincerity are genuine in reaching the objectives of the company. Such atmosphere would overcome the misunderstandings that could take place and also remove any wrong perceptions leading to negative environment at the workplace.
Beier, M.E., Teachout, M.S. and Cox, C.B., 2012. 23 The Training and Development of an Aging Workforce. The Oxford handbook of work and aging, p.436.
Ciampa, E. and Chernesky, R., 2013. Creating supportive workplace environments for older workers. In Ageism and mistreatment of older workers (pp. 93-110). Springer, Dordrecht.
Hall, J. and et.al., 2015. Preparing the workforce for behavioral health and primary care integration. The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 28(Supplement 1), pp.S41-S51.
Kadefors, R. and Hanse, J.J., 2012. Employers’ attitudes toward older workers and obstacles and opportunities for the older unemployed to reenter working life. Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies, 2(3), pp.29-47.
O’Donnell, D. and et.al., 2015. The case management approach to protecting older people from abuse and mistreatment: Lessons from the Irish experience. The British Journal of Social Work, 45(5), pp.1451-1468.
Remler, D.K. and Van Ryzin, G.G., 2014. Research methods in practice: Strategies for description and causation. Sage Publications.
Sharkey, A. and Sharkey, N., 2012. Granny and the robots: ethical issues in robot care for the elderly. Ethics and information technology, 14(1), pp.27-40.
Staubli, S. and Zweimüller, J., 2013. Does raising the early retirement age increase employment of older workers?. Journal of public economics, 108, pp.17-32.